Re: Different Styles of Aikido, same smiles?
I think one thing to be wary of when choosing a "home" dojo within any style is the breadth of the individual dojo's style. If you haven't heard it yet, you will - The phrase "Takemusu Aiki[do]" can mean many different things...Aikido is ever-changing, ever-evolving, reborn with each attack. WE are all unique, and each attack is unique, therefore each execution of any particular technique is also unique, etc.
I have visited dojos where they had a very set way of expressing each technique, and to depart from that was incorrect. I think this is a big mistake. It seems to happen mostly at small dojos, where the dojo-cho has been the primary instructor of most or all of the other instructors (if any). I think the students and the art are better served by dojos that bring together instructors of different backgrounds, even occasionally from different "styles". I realize that this can be difficult for a very small dojo, but they should at least be of the mind to encourage their members to seek out as many different sources of training as they can manage. They should teach with the attitude that "this is just one of an infinite variety of ways to do this technique or to respond to this attack." If you can find such a dojo, you will be in aiki-heaven.